Winsome Barker, building a great empire
Head of the Golden Grain Farm & Garden Store, Winsome Barker, has an undeniable passion for the agriculture sector. It is this same passion which has kept her going after 16 years in the business.
"I really haven't found it to be challenging because this is a part of me. I like farming and I like to help people in the farming industry," shared Barker.
Her passion has extended to assisting her customers over the years, most of whom continue to support her business to this day.
"I always like to give customers a start. One lady came to me once with a small amount of money and she wanted to start a feed store. She grew from ordering just a few bags of feed to a truck load of feed. Her store is in Lionel Town and she's been a regular customer for over 12 years," said Barker.
She continued, "I feel proud to have been able to give someone a start when they needed the assistance."
As an extended service, free delivery is offered to customers in neighbouring parishes such as St Catherine, St Elizabeth, and Manchester.
Barker's dedication to the agriculture sector, has seen her business operation grow to six stores. Three are in Mandeville (Pro Feeds, which is managed by her daughter-in-law Trudy Barker; Central Farm Supply is managed by her daughter, Nadesha Murray; while Lane Farm Supply is managed by another daughter, Andrea Barker).
Her son, Kenneth Timoll, manages two in Clarendon (one in May Pen and one in Frankfield), while another son, Robert Barker manages one at Manchester Avenue, May Pen.
She spoke about the highs and the lows of running her business empire.
"The high point is really during the Christmas season and Easter. Business can be very good during those times and it makes you feel excited. The low point is when nothing much is going on. Ten years ago, around this time, we didn't have time to sit down, you had to be cracking. There has never been a time that I felt like giving up. This is something that I love doing," said Barker.
Across all stores, Barker has a staff complement of 36 persons.
She is featured on the 2018 Nutramix Calendar and is featured in the month of January. This took her by surprise.
"I feel humbled and I give God thanks for the moment and to Nutramix for considering me as an empowered woman for their calendar. It does mean a lot to me," she confided.
She has successfully put her children through university and mentored them. To Barker, gender does not matter in the agriculture industry. She believes that what is most important is being able to maintain leadership qualities by facing challenges head on, staying focused and dedicated, and never letting anyone or anything stop you from fulfilling your dreams.